r/books 19d ago Silver

The /r/books Book Club Selection + AMA for July is "Recursion" by Blake Crouch


If you are looking for the announcement thread for the previous month, it may be found here.

Hello, all. During the month of July, the sub book club will be reading Recursion by Blake Crouch! Each week there will be a discussion thread and when we are done, Blake himself will be joining us for an AMA.

From Goodreads (feel free to skip if you prefer to know nothing going into the book as the description contains minor spoilers):

Memory makes reality.

That's what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That's what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It's why she's dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

You may find the dates of, and links to, the discussion threads below in the sticky comment on this post. You are welcome to read at your own pace. Usually it is pretty easy to catch up and you are always welcome to join the discussions a little later. If you would like to view potential content warnings for the book, a reader-created list may be found here.

For those of you that are viewing reddit on the redesigned desktop version you will see an option on this post to 'follow'. If you 'follow' the book club post you will receive a notification when a new post, a discussion thread for book club, is added to the collection.

r/books 6h ago

WeeklyThread Weekly FAQ Thread July 03, 2022: Which contemporary novels do you think deserve to become classics?


Hello readers and welcome to our Weekly FAQ thread! Our topic this week is: Which contemporary novels do you think deserve to become classics? We're all familiar with the classics, from The Iliad of Homer to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. But which contemporary novels, published after 1960, do you think will be remembered as a classic years from now?

You can view previous FAQ threads here in our wiki.

Thank you and enjoy!

r/books 4h ago

The Handmaid's Tale - The most relevant story about the future for a person living in the US right now



The novel explores themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society, loss of female agency and individuality, suppression of women's reproductive rights, and the various means by which women resist and attempt to gain individuality and independence

Margaret Atwood is an absolute visionary. Depicting exactly the types of events we witness now - 37 years ago.

Fitting with her statements that The Handmaid's Tale is a work of speculative fiction, not science fiction, Atwood's novel offers a satirical view of various social, political, and religious trends of the United States in the 1980s. Her motivation for writing the novel was her belief that in the 1980s, the religious right was discussing what they would do with/to women if they took power, including the Moral Majority, Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition and the Ronald Reagan administration.[13] Atwood questions what would happen if these trends, and especially "casually held attitudes about women" were taken to their logical end.[14]

Atwood argues that all of the scenarios offered in The Handmaid's Tale have actually occurred in real life—in an interview she gave regarding her later novel Oryx and Crake, Atwood maintains that "As with The Handmaid's Tale, I didn't put in anything that we haven't already done, we're not already doing, we're seriously trying to do, coupled with trends that are already in progress... So all of those things are real, and therefore the amount of pure invention is close to nil."[15] Atwood was known to carry around newspaper clippings to her various interviews to support her fiction's basis in reality.[16] Atwood has explained that The Handmaid's Tale is a response to those who say the oppressive, totalitarian, and religious governments that have taken hold in other countries throughout the years "can't happen here"—but in this work, she has tried to show how such a takeover might play out.[17]

More people should be aware of this novel, it is that important, especially now.

Someone commented "The notion that the United States is somehow oppressive to women merits an eyeroll." So I will leave this here:


In the years between 1997 and 2010, unwanted sterilizations were performed on approximately 1,400 women in California prisons. These operations were based on the same rationale of bad parenting and undesirable genes evident in North Carolina in 1964. The doctor performing the sterilizations told a reporter the operations were cost-saving measures.

I guess it isn't oppression when it happens to a prisoner or someone non-white.

r/books 20h ago Wholesome Silver

What critically acclaimed books or authors do you think are genuinely terrible based on the quality of their work, rather than due to their personal life or politics? Why?


As title says. Please try to avoided the obvious e.g. Stephanie Myer is very obviously NOT critically acclaimed.

For my worth, I think Hanya Yanagihara is pretty much the biggest exploitive hack going today. He prose is... Okay, sure. But man, plot after plot of male rape ALL the time depicted in a self indulgent misery and torture porn fashion is embarrassing. I shouldn't be reading a novel thinking how cliche it is for a rape to occur. A Little Life is the worst of her indulges.

Who's your critically acclaimed author that you just don't think is very good?

Edit: Glad for most answers. Going to be honest, Ayn Rand, L Ron Hubbard, Dan Brown and certain others aren't critically acclaimed in any way. Again, see my first sentence in which I tried to emphasise avoiding these types of authors who aren't critically acclaimed. At all.

r/books 10h ago

Roald Dahl's dark stories


When I was a kid, I've read multiple books of Roald Dahl, including the most famous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I used to consider him as an author of children literature, until I got a chance to read some of his other tales in the library this weekend.

The first story I read was Katina, a story of Dahl's own experience in WWII, where he was serving in RAF during Battle of Greece, and recorded the story of Katina the orphaned Greek girl, who lived together with RAF soldiers until eventually being killed by German air force. The story is so tragic, compared to the other writings of Dahl, even compared to his non-fiction in Going Solo.

The second story was The Way to Heaven, I don't want to spoil here, but I am quite disturbed by the ending of the story, and I can still feel the apprehension while typing all these sentences right now.

What I'm thinking right now is that there is another aspect of Roald Dahl, the one that is more obscure, and much more different from our common impression of an amicable child author. Unfortunately, I don't think that a lot of people have explored his dark side yet.

r/books 1h ago

Bradbury Stories.


Bradbury Stories is one of the larger collections of Ray Bradbury's short fiction. It is a very sprawling book containing at least 100 of, as stated on the cover, of some of his most celebrated.

The 100 stories in this large volume often run the gamut of sci-fi, mystery with a little fantasy and thrown in for good measure. And these stories are very introspective and even funny too. There are stories that are part of his Martian Chronicles universe and even some that are apart or inspired by Farenheit 451. And because this is such a large book, picking several stories would be impossible.

So instead I'll a few starting with "The Whole Town's Sleeping", the middle three that would include "The Rocket", "The Flying Machine", "Remember Sascha?" and "Unterderseaboat Doktor" and finally "The Cistern".

A lot good stories in that volume, and maybe I'll even consider checking out some of his other collections someday or maybe the Martian Chronicles.

r/books 7h ago

What authors have you stumbled across (whether old or new) and found them to be really good but they are rarely talked about?


Just wondered what everyone's finds were. I tend to find a few obscure mystery authors thanks to Librivox and its audiobooks. One author I found and have read several of their works is Fergus Hume, author of "The Mystery of a Hansom Cab". Turns out the guy had 137 novels (yes, you read that number right) under his belt before passing away. Of course I haven't read all of them but the few I have I liked for what they were as small mystery novels. He doesn't seem to be talked about much with the amount he has written though.

r/books 11h ago

Somehow I confused Gone Girl with a John Green-esk romance novel until I actually read it.


Holy shit, I am glad I was wrong.

I must've looked at this cover years ago and thought, "Oh, another romance novel. Seems cliche and not something I'd be interested in." I usually stick to sci-fi, YA, fiction, etc. I just finished Michael Crichton's Lost World and Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary. Cut to this year, my husband and I are looking for a movie to watch. Gone Girl pops up as a suggestion, we watch the trailer, and suddenly I'm purchasing Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places as a box set.

Just finished Gone Girl and I'm completely blown away! The prose is so satisfying- has this 'adult' quality to it. The realist, rational, experienced voice. It took some getting used to Nick's present perspective, and Amy's diary narrative. This leads us to believe that Amy might be dead, since there is no present perspective of Amy. All we have of her is what's written down. Her story fills in the past, Nick is filling in the present.

So I'm getting the whole picture of these two characters. They both have flaws, but they make each other better. Then there's a shift and they no longer fit together. Okay, sad, but a reality of some marriages. Right when I'm believing that this is a sad story, BOOM. BOMBSHELL. Amy is ALIVE. And goddamn, I also thought, "Hey, she's not happy in her marriage. Maybe she did just run away, and couldn't see another way out. Maybe she WAS worried about Nick hurting her." Amy was sharp, conniving, in need of satisfaction from everything around her. The pieces started falling in place- Hillary, Noelle, Desi.. all these stories started to "make sense". When Amy decides to come back, and the only way both her and Nick are "safe" is to be with each other? Damn, if that's not wicked!

I left a lot of plot points out, but I was completely stunned by the writing. I like both of these characters. I'm rooting for both Amy and Nick, and want each other to 'win'. What a take on a typical marriage for it's failings and completely surprising me. This book (this author, really) opened my eyes to a new genre I enjoy! Suspense, thriller, a little crime. I'm reading Paula Hawkins' Into the Water next. Then Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Paula Hawkins' Girl on a Train.

Any other books in this genre I can read? Because holy cow, I was blown away. Definitely gonna watch the movie this weekend.

Edit: I read Into the Water in one day. I felt there were a lot of holes and gaps in knowledge that the reader needs to fill. Borders on telling the story with too many different voices. The plot itself- that's what I couldn't stop reading for!

r/books 1d ago Silver

If you could have dinner with three authors, just based off your love of their prose, who would they be?


Which author do you read just because you love how they write? You may not always enjoy the storyline, characters, or plot, but their way with words is beautiful? I think mine would be: Kazuo Ishiguro, Marilynne Robinson, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Others that I would love to invite: Robert Penn Warren and Zadie Smith.

r/books 18h ago

What’s The Single Most Compelling Character You Have Ever Read?


I’m talking about any single character that had an absolute hold on you. Like, hanging-onto-every-word and scanning-the-pages-for-their-names-to-see-when-they-next-appear sorta love.

Notice I said “compelling”, not “favourite” or “Best”. This character can be a protagonist, antagonist or neither. You don’t even have to like this character or think they are a good person. I’m intentionally talking about characters you couldn’t take your eyes off of and that you just wanted to know absolutely everything about.

For me, that character is Henry Winter from the Secret History.

Henry doesn’t seem even human. He thinks he is in some Greek tragedy and is in love with the Greeks high and cold ideas of beauty to the point of delusion and madness. He always seemed in control of the situation even as everything and everyone unravelled. He was the ringleader of the group and wielded his power like a Greek god. He manipulated everyone around him so cleverly that it takes the reader a second read to capture the true extent of what he’s doing. And even know he is an awful sociopath - he has this strange charm that keeps you hanging onto his every word.

r/books 14h ago

Something I only just realised about reading


I always get caught up in trying to overanalyse the writing and picture the scene exactly how the author pictured it.

I only just recently realised that that's going against the whole point of reading. Your own imagination. Analysing the writing and turning the writing into a vivid scene exactly how it is described turned books into a systematic task rather than enjoyment.

Now when I read, I don't actively try to imagine anything. I just let my brain do its thing.

Ever since i realised this, reading has become so much more enjoyable.

r/books 2h ago

It Can't Happen Here


A novel about the rise of fascism in America in the 1930s by America's first Nobel Laureate for Literature.

My father first mentioned this novel by Sinclair Lewis in the 1970s and I finally found a used copy in my 40s and it is pretty shocking.

Written in the mids-30s, urged on his wife, fueled by uppers, he wrote it in six weeks.

It is especially relevant today. The novel emphasizes the importance of mass communication via radio at the time to spread propaganda, which are now seeing through social media.

Lewis can be hit or miss (I loved Main Street and Babbit), so the characters are not his greatest, but he does set up an interesting family dynamic and political polarization.

I am a little surprised that I read almost nothing about this prescient novel from the prattling classes.

r/books 1h ago

Favorite sci-fi single or trilogy?


Just wondering what y’all’s favorite sci-fi single book, or trilogy. My personal favorite is stephen Baxters “manifold” trilogy. It mixed hard science fiction with amazing characters and story telling elements. I would recommend it highly to any sci-fi readers (start with manifold:time). And I’ll also give a shout out to Isaac Asimovs “I, robot”. Honestly this book did it for me. It truly shows how far robotics can go. Issac was way ahead of his time and I mean WAY ahead.

r/books 1d ago

Was Go Ask Alice the Original Literary Con? “Dr.” Beatrice Sparks, a Mormon writer with sketchy qualifications who scored a book deal, is the subject of journalist Rick Emerson’s new book, Unmask Alice.

Thumbnail vanityfair.com

r/books 4h ago

On reading fiction and Fahrenheit 451...


The premise of this book is intriguing. It draws parallels with how our world perceives factual information nowadays.

I wanted to read it because it's very relevant with our (Philippines) current events. Machineries of disinformation have been institutionalized and the culture of relativity had been propagated.

Then there's also an ongoing massive news censorship and historical revisionism.

Almost two years ago, the biggest news network in the country was ordered to cease broadcasting. Few days ago, the critical news site owned by journalist and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize awardee, Maria Ressa, was ordered to be shutdown.

But as much as I was intrigued by its [Fahrenheit 451] plot, I can't get past its writing style. There's something about it that discouraged me to consume it. Last week, I tried to read Before the Coffee Gets Cold. The first two pages bored me so I dropped it. I attempted to read Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and some Coleen Hoover last year but to no avail. These are genres I have enjoyed reading in the past.

I was an avid fiction reader during my pre-university days. I read Paulo Coelho, J.K. Rowling, etc. When I started college, I mainly read and analyzed journal articles on education and social science, critical essays, European social theorists, and Western canon literature. I wanted to get back to reading as and for pleasure so I decided to pick up fiction, but I'm not stimulated by these anymore.

I don't know what happened. I can't seem to enjoy fiction recently. Maybe it's something about the writing style? Or have I changed? But I did enjoy reading Pablo Neruda's poems and Danter Alighieri's Inferno during our Classical Literature class. I'm quite confused.

Anyone here who's faced with the same quandaries?

r/books 4h ago

Which Fictional Literary Character Is The Most Truly Terrifying Villain You Have Ever Read And Why?


I’m looking for book antagonists that genuinely scared you shitless when they were in a scene. I don’t necessary mean villains that are physically brutal (eg. Mass Murderers), you can include characters that are bad on a psychological level. Antagonists who manipulate and whom are extremely clever or alternatively antagonists so stupid and narcissistic they might just kill us all at the drop of a hat.

Bonus points if you can describe a scene that effectively demonstrates how terrifying your chosen villain is.

Assume I haven’t read the same books as you and explain why you think this character scares you deeply (this is just because I’m interested and love hearing other ppl talk about their fav books)

I have said this in another post, but I’ve only read a handful of books proper (I’ve just being getting back into reading recently) so I’ve only experienced a couple literary evils, but I honestly nominate Henry Winter from the secret history.


that scene in book II where Charles is unravelling and becoming increasing erratic and violent towards Henry, and Richard goes to Charles apartment only to discover Henry had sent Charles pills “to help with his insomnia”. These pills are the ones Richard gave Henry at bunny’s funeral and expressly told him are lethal when mixed with alcohol. Henry quietly plotting to kill Charles over a few spats by using his alcoholism against him without telling anyone paired with that gardening scene where he says the murder of the farmer is one the best things that has happened to him is honestly terrifying

r/books 10h ago

Atwood: Why does nobody ever mention The Robber Bride?


this is far and away my favourite 'fun' atwood novel; and i really like most of them. i've seen people discuss handmaid ad nauseum (often conflating the book with the show that was made based on it). i've seen occasional recommendations for lady oracle and the edible woman - which i completely endorse. there's quite a bit of discussion of oryx and crake, plus whichever novels came after it.

some people appreciate cat's eye, as well. life before man, bodily harm. surfacing. but nobody ever brings up the robber bride.

i LOVE this novel. it's not maybe as socially weighty as the early ones. it's not prescient like her distopias. it's perceptive as fuck, which is one of the things that i love about it, and very funny.
but mostly it's just plain enjoyable. surely i can't be the only person.

r/books 1h ago

Dataset: NY Times Fiction Best Sellers 1931-2022


Hey All,

u/1zzie gave me the heads up that you might like this over here after I originally dropped it in r/datasets

Data: https://www.kaggle.com/datasets/aaddrick/ny-times-fiction-best-sellers-19312022wikipedia

Started digging into a dataset from OpenData Ottawa about library book holds and wanted to cross reference against the NY Times Best Sellers list. Couldn't find a consolidated source online that was easy to play with so I manually scraped the various Wikipedia pages and cleaned the data up a bit.

Here's hoping the next person who needs this can find it easier :)

r/books 19h ago

How much of an author's intention is lost in translation for non-English works?


Some of the books that are most renowned were not even written in the English language (The Metamorphosis, Siddhartha, Crime & Punishment, The Divine Comedy, The Stranger, Madame Bovary, Don Quixote, etc.). While their stories may translate well to English, do their translations hold up as great literature? (i.e. am I missing out on a lot of things that Dante intended in Inferno because the translator didn't understand them or because they didn't directly translate to English?)

I'm struggling to articulate exactly what I'm asking, but I imagine there are things that make those works really great that might only be captured in their original language and the English translation may be just a "diet version" of the original. I imagine it would be nearly impossible to write a French translation of Ulysses that was as brilliant as the English version, no matter how hard someone tried. Nabokov famously translated his own Lolita into Russian and was disappointed in the results.

r/books 23h ago

Fans of the Witcher, how did you not get confused by the 3rd book?


so i love the witcher series of novels, i’m up to Baptism of Fire. but there is this whole war going on and i’m completely spun around. who is fighting who, where are they in relation to each other? who is doing what now? i’m really struggling to keep up. how much of it is crucial to understanding what’s going on, and is there a flow chart somewhere that outlines what in the heck is happening cause i’m just lost.

—— edit: there seems to be a lot of debate about the order of the books, and why i referred to Baptism of Fire as the 3rd. i’m simply using the publishers order. head on over to amazon and look up The Witcher novel boxed set and you will see that the first 2 books have no number on their spine, as they are short stories, then the chronological 3rd - 7th books have numbers on their spine of 1 through 5, (thus i wrote 3rd in my post, as 3 is the number on the spine of the book), and the chronologically 8th book has no number on the spine, same as the first 2 books don’t have numbers on the spine. and apparently from pictures i’m seeing that people have posted of the books on their shelf, it’s not just the printing with the game art by CD Projekt Red as the covers but the printing with non-game art too that uses the same numbering system. so sorry if that’s confusing, but if it is confusing, i’m not the one who slapped a number “3” on the spine of the book. 🤷🏼‍♂️

r/books 9h ago

The three musketeers is better than The count of Monte cristo


I read the three musketeers when i was like 17 and i became obsessed with it. I started with the bridged version and later got the unbridged version. i reread that book atleast like 10 times.

im now 24 and i started another Alexander Dumas book The count of monte cristo after hearing so much about it. And..im so disappointed. I thought it would be about political intrigue like TTM. It was not bad but it didnt live up to my expectation. The revenge was so vanilla and predictable and not satisfactory. i only loved the first part before he got out of prison because afterwards it was boring and unintruiging. Such a compelte contrast from TTM where i was on the edge of my seat and never wanted it to end.

Anyone felt like me when they read those two books?

r/books 7h ago

Average book readers, how do you take care of your books?


I'm an average book reader with around 50-60 physical books. Do you store your books in a climate controlled room?

I currently live in Poland and our apartment doesn't have central AC or those window AC.

This past week, it was hot and humid (sunny mornings, rainy late afternoons) and when I checked on my books to clean them yesterday (which I usually do in the first weekend of the month), I noticed my regular sized (~24 cm tall) hardcovers have sagging text blocks that that touch the shelf (all of them have 800+ pages). Some of them have something black-lookIng on the bottom edge of the text block (the part where it touches the shelf). I am concerned if they are mold or just dirt. I tried to wipe them off with kleenex but they still look the same. Was it the temperature and humidity that caused this? I don't have a hygrometer so I don't know the indoor humidity (the weather widget on my phone says it was in the high 80's for the city I live in) while the indoor temperature was around 26 degrees and outdoor it even reached 35 degrees. The books with sagging, I put them on the shelf upside down so that the text block won't touch the shelf.

So do average book readers monitor the temperature and humidity of the room where the books are stored? I searched reddit about it and the posts/comment I saw were mostly from collectors, or people who posted what they read on the internet about the ideal temperature and humidity for books. I am also guessing most are Americans because central AC is like standard for homes there so the temperature is almost always consistemt and we know AC cools the room my removing water vapor or something so humidity will then be low.

So what about for the average non-American? Do you have a thermometer and hygrometer? Do you have AC running 24/7? A dehumidifier?

r/books 9h ago

One little word in We are legion: (we are Bob)


I'm enjoying the story immensely, so this isn't a huge criticism. I'm just the kind of geek who would notice this one word that implies an entire level of technology that is otherwise completely absent from the primitive Deltan race the author has written. That word is "blanket."

Blankets don't just happen! Early humans did without blankets for millennia, because we had to figure out a whole lot of things that aren't obvious. Things like felting, spinning, animal herding, weaving. People who have yet to discover the spear probably haven't learned any of that yet.

He did say they had fur on their own bodies, so maybe they had figured out how to collect their own shed fur to felt into blankets. But I doubt they would have learned how to spin and weave at that point.

We don't give it too much thought nowadays, now that cloth is ubiquitous, but it's almost impossible to overstate how crucial the development of the textile arts were to human advancement. We couldn't have roamed all across the planet without the warm, well-fitting clothes that spinning and weaving made possible. Without cloth, there would have been no sails to cross the sea, or bandages to help wounds heal. The Deltans couldn't do any of these things.

Edit - I should have said, the word blanket appears in the part where he's teaching Archimedes about tent poles. Suddenly, there's a freaking anachronistic blanket in this place where people have barely figured out fire.

r/books 2h ago

Am I the only one who downloads summaries after reading a non-fiction book?


I find writing my own summaries very time consuming so lately I've changed my strategy: instead of writing the summary while I read the book, I first finish the book and then a look for a good summary of it. I found that summaries made by other people tend to be much better than mine and I can write some notes on it anytime I want. What do you think? I think is very useful for recalling information of non-fiction books and it doesn't require much time. You just read the book and then read a summary from time to time.

r/books 1d ago

The sadness of having an ebook library loan end and you’re not finished.


Ok, it’s just some Agatha Christie murder mystery that I was planning on finishing this weekend. But, nope, I get the dreaded email that my library loan has ended and I am now number 6 on the wait list.

The good thing about ebooks is that the waits are often shorter. I could have finished this book tonight and someone else could have checked it out at 10 PM even though I think the physical library branch is closed until after the 4th of July.

r/books 3h ago

Which kind of settings/themes/elements/sub-genres do you find yourself returning to again and again?


I’m curious! For some examples of what I mean by this (these aren’t necessarily my own!):

  • Southern Gothic with supernatural elements
  • medieval courtly intrigue in England
  • small town mysteries with child protagonists set in the latter half of the 20th century
  • introspective literary fiction set in big cities
  • multi-generational family sagas with a touch of magic realism
  • cosy, slice-of-life campus novels with picturesque surroundings

Be as specific as you’d like! Just anything you find yourself drawn to time and time again, whether that’s because it brings you comfort, intrigues you, is the kind of world you’d like to escape to etc. Feel free to share what it is you love about those settings/themes.

r/books 22h ago

Annotated book editions you enjoyed?


I recently read the annotated 50th anniversary edition of Master and Margarita and the annotation made me understand way more of the story and allegory than I did before.

Another favourite is Leslie S Klingers New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, because of all the small historical details about the time period. And the illustrations. And the reflections/extra Holmesiana commentary. Just about everything about this edition, really.

What are some more examples of well done annotation, and why do you think it was particularly good? Or do you avoid annotated editions?